John Brown | NSW Government needs to listen to people in fight against plastic

Plastic. It’s pervasive. It puts your car on the road, it’s in most of your furniture, it’s even in toothpaste, shampoo and the phone you use.

Plastic. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it?

Well, yes … we can live without some of it.

The decision by major supermarket chains to reduce their use of plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables and for single use plastic bags for shopping is a win for us all, but mostly for the planet we live on.

Wrapping bananas and beans in plastic has always been a very bad idea. Nature puts fruit and vegetables in their own packaging ready to eat. The tide has turned and the community has rejected the extravagant consumption of single-use plastics.

John Brown, Maitland Greens

John Brown, Maitland Greens

Coles has pledged to reduce plastic wrap on fruit and vegetables, and replace meat and poultry product packaging with recycled and renewable materials. Coles will also aim at halving food waste from its supermarkets and making all packaging of its branded products recyclable by 2020.

Woolworths will stop selling plastic straws and enter into a partnership with a food waste recycler by the end of the year. Woolworths will also stop using single plastic shopping bags on June 20.

Coles and Woollies are following the lead set by other major groups, such as Harris Farm, but mostly they are listening to the people. The majority of shoppers want a reduction in plastic because they have seen what it can do to our marine life, wildlife and environment. Thirty per cent of the world’s turtles and 90 per cent of seabird species have now ingested plastic debris.

Trillions of plastic bags are used every year globally. Australians use around 4 billion plastic bags every year and an estimated 50 million of them end up in our waterways.

Many shoppers have already chosen to take their own reusable bags to the supermarket. Some will find the bans a nuisance but be assured there will be plenty of freebie environmentally friendly bags handed out to shoppers as soon as the ban takes place.

One of the groups involved is the Maitland Greens, who will be handing free reusable, strong paper bags with handles to help the ordinary shopper. Cardboard boxes will also be made available at many checkouts.

Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT already have successful plastic bag bans in place.

It’s time for the NSW Government to follow the lead of the people.


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